Universal Studios Japan was the first Universal theme park built in Asia, and it remains one of the best. In fact, its popularity in Japan is second only to the Tokyo Disney Resort.
You can enjoy many rides, from child-friendly to thrilling roller coasters. Your children can have their picture taken with their favorite characters, and all can enjoy theatrical spectacles.
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How to get to Universal Studios Japan in Osaka
Universal Studios Japan is located 7 kilometers from Osaka. You can easily reach Universal Studios using your Japan Rail Pass.
While in Osaka, from Osaka Station City, take the Osaka loop line, also known as Osaka Kanjo line, to Nishikujo Station, then, take the Sakurajima line (also known as Yumesaki line) to Universal-City Station. Once in there, Universal Studios Japan is under 5 minutes-walk. The whole trip is about 13 minutes, several trains run per hour, departing about every 15 minutes. The trip is full covered by the JR Pass, if you don’t have one, the train tickets will be about 180 yen.
If traveling from Tokyo to Universal Studios, you can first take the Tokaido Shinkansen to Shin-Osaka Station. Once there, you can take the JR Tokaido-Sanyo line (not shinkansen line) to Osaka Station City.
Ticket types and prices
Universal Studios Japan offers the following ticket options:
- 1-day adult pass, 7,315 yen
- 2-day adult pass, 12,408 yen (a savings of 2,222 yen)
- 1-day child pass, 5,000 yen
- 2-day child pass, 8,334 yen (a savings of 1,666 yen)
- 1-day senior pass, 6,575 yen
- 1-day pass for handicapped adult, 3,658 yen
- 1 day pass for handicapped child, 2,500 yen
Children’s tickets are available up to 12 years of age, and senior offerings begin at 65 years of age. Tickets can be purchased in advance through a number of websites, saving you the time of standing in line after you arrive at the park.
Universal Express Pass
Express Passes allow you to skip the line at some of your favorite rides. A number of different passes are available, each serving a different set of 4 to 7 rides.
Prices vary by date, but express passes generally range from $50 to $80 usd. During peak season, the Express Pass 7 can cost more than $170 usd.
These passes often sell out quickly at the ticket gate, but you can purchase them online in advance of your trip.
The VIP wristband is another add-on that can save you time and frustration. The wristband allows you to enter the park ahead of other visitors, avoiding a wait in line. It also offers admission to the Harukas 300 Building in Tennoji. The wristband costs about $35 usd.
Hours vary by season, but normally include the hours of 8.30 / 9:30 am to 7:00 / 9:00 pm. During weekends or public holidays, opening hours may be extended. It is advisable to consult the official website for the most up-to-date information on opening hours based on the day.
The park is open 365 days a year.
A tour of Universal Studios Japan
Universal Studios Japan is divided into nine themed zones. These include:
- New York, where you can web sling with Spider-Man.
- Minion Park, where you can cook up mischief with your favorite yellow minions.
- San Francisco, where you can relive the movie Backdraft.
- Jurassic Park, where you can tangle with ancient giants, including the Flying Dinosaur ride.
- Waterworld, where you can enjoy an aquatic show based on the film.
- Amity Village, home to the famous and frightening Jaws ride.
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, where you can tour Hogwarts Castle and relive your favorite story.
- Universal Wonderland, a haven for the youngest children, with characters like Snoopy and Big Bird.
- Hollywood, a shopping and dining area with additional roller coasters.
A forthcoming Super Nintendo World is set to open in 2020.
Best Rides and attractions
- The Flying Dinosaur: Welcome to Jurassic Park, where a Pteranodon is waiting to pull you up into the sky. The sensation of flight is enhanced by the 90-degree rotation of the seats so that you are facing the ground below you and the sky above.
- Despicable Me Minion Mayhem: One of the park’s newest rides, immerse yourself in a 3D simulation of the Minion’s world.
- The Hollywood Dream Roller Coaster: Choose one of five songs for your personal “soundtrack.” The Hollywood Dream Backdrop ride follows the same course, only backward.
- The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man: Feel the heat and moisture of villainous weapons in this ride that combines a moving vehicle with 3D elements.
- Jurassic Park the Ride: Tour the infamous park from the water, and watch out for the drop at the end!
- Jaws: A leisurely boat ride becomes a fight for survival when a gigantic great white shark appears!
- Lupin the Third Car Chase XR: Formerly known as Space Fantasy, this spinning roller coaster celebrates Japanese characters from Lupin the Third.
- Sing on Tour: Experience the music and madness of this charming film in a new stage attraction that opened in 2019.
- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey: The Wizarding World’s main attraction, this ride takes place inside Hogwarts Castle and includes Quidditch, a dragon’s flame, and giant spiders.
- Mario Kart: This attraction is rumored to open in 2020 in the new Super Nintendo World.
Avoiding the crowds: The best time to go
Universal Studios Japan is a busy attraction all year round. In order to beat the crowds, arrive early, and take advantage of the Express Pass and VIP wristband. When planning the order of your rides, consult the wait-time monitors. Use the single-rider lines for more popular rides – you may not be seated with other members of your party, but you’ll all get to ride sooner!
Additionally, try to plan your trip on weekdays rather than on the weekend, and avoid any holidays.